No Joke: We’re Making Too Many Mistakes

Read through our corrections.

We’re not doing a good enough job checking some basic things, including:

- Titles
- Names
- Numbers
- Dates
- Historical records

Mistakes will happen. But it is a shame that otherwise excellent stories have correction notes attached because we’ve gotten a senator’s state wrong, misspelled someone’s name or didn’t get the math right — those and other things that are easy to check. Readers and listeners question our credibility if we get the “small stuff” wrong.

In most cases, we can’t fall back on “it’s live radio” or “I misspoke.” Mistakes are being written into scripts or Web stories and read by editors before being recorded or published.

We all have to concentrate.

Correspondents and producers: Use the accuracy checklist; don’t trust your memories; double-check everything; challenge sources about their “facts.” Basically, apply this old rule: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Editors: do those things and more. Practice “prosecutorial editing.”

We’re doing great work. So many people are working so incredibly hard. Let’s do all we can to avoid unforced errors.

(“Memmos;” Jan. 3, 2018)

January 3, 2018

Comments are closed.